Colorado: Planned Parenthood Offers Texts to Teens Seeking Advice About Sex
December 21, 2011
Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains has taken over a Denver-based text messaging service that provides sexual health information to teens. "In Case You're Curious" (ICYC) is an offshoot of the Denver Teen Pregnancy Prevention Partnership, which began in Denver Public Schools in 2007.
Under the service, teens text "ICYC" to 66746. After receiving a confirmation, youths can then submit anonymous questions, which are answered within 24 hours by Planned Parenthood staffers. Responses are limited to 160 characters; agency staff often direct questioners to seek further advice from health and medical professionals.
"Our goal is to arm youth with medically accurate, age-appropriate information about what might be going on with their bodies," said Alison Macklin, Planned Parenthood's director of community education. "We'd rather have them have access to that information than wondering or relying on common myths, like It's better to use two condoms rather than one,' when the reality is that doing so will actually increase the risk for an unplanned pregnancy or [an STD]."
"We always encourage youth to have conversations with their parents, but we also recognize that not everyone has that ability," said Macklin. "We're not trying to take the place of those conversations, of them providing firsthand knowledge, but rather we're providing a way to help answer questions."
Since assuming the service last year, Planned Parenthood has received some 500 inquiries. Macklin said the aim is to double that total next year. ICYC runs through 2012.
12.15.2011; Anthony Cotton
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
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